Friday, June 29, 2012

the Gilead Aimee Parkinson

Another summer filled with campers coming to Christ, an amazing staff, lack of sleep and immense spiritual growth. I’m so excited that the Lord opened up yet another summer that I get to spend at Camp Gilead. I had no plans to originally work at camp, because I was graduating from college in May. However the Lord had different plans and opened the door for me to be here again this summer. I am so excited to be the girls head counselor and be able to pour into their lives this summer.
Last week and into this week we have had staff training. It has been so cool to see how the Lord has brought an amazing group of people together as a team. Even just last night we had a chance as just a girl’s college staff to hangout and spend time together. There is just something about not having the guys around, but just the girls sharing and being open and honest with one another. It was cool to just have a time of bonding and building relationships with each other for the summer. We shared about fears, excitements, perceptions and how we could be a support team to each other throughout the summer. We shared prayer requests about burdens on our hearts and prayed for each other. Even after we were done meeting and praying none of the girls wanted to leave, but we just all hung out laughing and telling stories to each other late into the night.  It was such a blessing to my heart to hear people share and uplift each other as we chatted about the summer ahead.

One of the biggest things for a summer of ministry is to have a strong community of people who are there for one another. Each and every one has different strengths and weaknesses that we are all able to lean on and utilize as a community. Especially as exhaustion sets in and spiritual warfare is more prominent it is key to have people encouraging one another and lifting each other up. It is a beautiful picture of how each person has a uniquely different personality, but how the Lord puts together an amazing team to compensate for each other with different strengths and weaknesses.

I am anticipating an amazing summer and praying for the Lord to bring many campers to Christ this summer. I am also excited to pour into the girl staff as the Lord stretches and grows each one of them this summer. The unity of us as a body to keep each other accountable and love each other is so important for all us staff as we pour into many students who will be coming to camp each and every week.

Continue to pray for us as a staff that the Lord will be working in each of our lives that we will be able to continue to build a strong community and that the Lord would use each and every one for his glory this summer as we pour into the lives of the campers as we share Christ’s love. Pray that the Lord would be working on the campers hearts who will be coming to Camp this summer and that the Lord will do amazing things in their lives through their week spent here at summer.

God has some amazing things planned for the summer and I’m so blessed to be a part of it. I’m stoked to see all that the Lord will do as he uses all the staff this summer!

Serving an Awesome Savior,
Aimee Parkinson
Girls Head Counselor

1 Cor 12:25-27         . . . .… there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.  Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 

1 Th 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Many times and in many places, change comes slowly. It seeps through the cracks of programs and steadily rises in relationships like the tide. Warning, I’m about to go super geek here for a second. High School science textbooks teach something called the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle. For the historians out there, this has nothing to do with the certain fiery disaster of the Heisenberg blimp in the 1930’s. Let me explain the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. You cannot accurately predict the location and speed of an electron in atomic orbit WITHOUT affecting its path. Once you get close enough to observe the electron, you have already disturbed its flight, altering its route with your energy. You have physically changed its future.

Many ministries change over the course of time, and in my short 27 years of life, I have seen many ministries lose their effectiveness in culture, wash out their identity in mediocrity and meander in marginal endeavors. Camp Gilead is a sequestered hillside retreat tucked between the Snoqualmie River and a coniferous forest. Since 1948, Campers feel appreciated, valued, accepted and most importantly, loved. There is a great need for children to have a special place where they can be understood and taught. I have received and felt this love many, many times. I can’t help but think that God has used Camp Gilead in his sovereign tool belt in order to shape and fashion my story. I am one of the many people who would say it is a second home to me.

I have been challenged, encouraged, confronted and praised here at camp. The staff, much like an atomic scientist observing an atom, have gotten close enough to me to change my future. Camp has been a big part of my development. Spiritually, Emotionally, Physically, Psychologically, etc. My childhood pals included the Moyer boys and we spent many days running riot in the woods like the lost boys of Never Land; without all the tights and pixie dust. I have been first a family camper, a junior camper, a Jr. high camper and Sr. High camper. Yet, my appetite was only wetted by those experiences. I cut my teeth on ministry here, and God formed me as an adolescent staff member during the summers of 2003, 2004, and 2005. There have been long periods of interruption in my camp experience recently and in the past. I did not visit camp from the summer of 1996 to 2001, with the exception of one abbreviated week in 1999. Another withdrawal from camp came from 2005 to 2012. This most recent return or “homecoming” has been punctuated by a single thought—gratitude.

I am profoundly grateful for Camp Gilead’s impact in my life, as well as its faithfulness to the work God has given it to do. Yet, I can’t help but wonder about you, my friend. Have you ever been in a place where you have been close enough to someone that you changed their future in such a positive way? Have you been vulnerable and open, sharing with your fears with God? Have you taken time from the daily grind to magnify your heart and examine your spiritual condition lately? Is your heart a home you would welcome Jesus into? Let me encourage you to take a retreat, if possible, to Camp Gilead, and allow God to do what He wants to do with you at this remote location. He desires to love you from the inside-out, and to rewrite your future.

“I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to prosper, not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Hidden behind the cross,

John Lafferty
Program Staff 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

...and I'm back again!

It’s funny how God can make things work that you thought never could, and how He orchestrates things to work out exactly as they should. This is my third year on program staff at Gilead, and each time, the group has been comprised of very different individuals.
Each year I come to camp wondering how we’ll ever get through the summer with such opposite personalities working so closely together. And yet, every year, I’ve been amazed at how each person’s personalities and gifts mesh to be exactly what is needed for the summer. This summer is no different. In the weeks leading up to our arrival, I wondered how it would work, with seven program staff members ranging from twenty-one to twenty-seven years old, including introverts and extroverts, task-oriented and relationship-oriented personalities, detail-oriented and big-picture mindsets. And yet, just three days into staff training, I can already see how our differences show the amazing variety of God’s gifts.
Between us all, we have the skills and personality traits that will allow us to serve God in our positions this summer. We’ve got the detail people for making sure everything is organized and scheduled, and the social people for creating a great group atmosphere. It’s amazing how different we are, but how well we fit together. And one thing we all have in common is our sense of humor; we played a game at the Mallorys’ house last night which culminated in a several-minute-long bout of pure laughter that left us all with sore abs.

And this meshing, this wonderful God-given mix of traits that somehow enables us to do what is required of us this summer, occurs within the rest of the staff as well. In the college and high school staffs, the same variety of skills and preferences, worldviews and personalities come into play, and it’s awesome. God brings exactly who He wants to camp; He ensures that the people He chooses and the group He creates are equipped to serve His purposes.

God’s wisdom and providence are in evidence here already. He’s going to do (and is already doing) amazing work, and I’m so excited to see how He’ll use the myriad gifts He’s brought here. This summer is going to be amazing (:

Ali Williams
Girls’ High School Staff Leader

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

fire supplies ... getting ready!

We are just minutes away from some very excited program staffers to arrive!  Today marks the "official" start of summer camp ... training for program staff this week, training for college staff & CITs next week, then family camp and the following week is our first week of youth camp! 

You might think ... what is there to learn about being a camp counselor?  It's just hanging out with kids and building relationships right?  Talk about Jesus, play with them, a little canoeing and swimming and ... that's what they'll do all summer right?

These college and high school students that have devoted their summer to the Lord in service at Camp Gilead will be learning so much in the next few weeks.  If you think about all of the different "hats" they might wear during their week as a camp staff member ... ask a mom what she does all day!  Teacher, doctor, lawyer, judge, chef, friend, trash collector, accountant, housekeeper ... and the list could go on! 

These students will learn about all the activities at Camp Gilead as well as age characteristics of children, how to listen, how to teach a Bible lesson, how to manage a cabin of campers, how to lead a camper to Christ, how to deal with homesickness, ADD, bedwetting and a host of other camper related issues.  One thing they they may not anticipate learning about ... is themselves.  These next few weeks will be days of growth together, building relationships with other staff as well as being taught important truths from the Word of God. 

Our staff pastor, Jim Mailloux, will help these staffers look at their lives and begin to prepare for their ministry and leadership this summer and how their relationship with the Lord has to come first before they can give to kids. 

Well...the first car has arrived so I must be going.  Please pray for Camp Gilead, the staff and those teaching these next few weeks!  To God be the glory ... great things HE has done!!!

Kimberly Mallory
Program Director

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

...just stirring the coals of the fire!

Hello from the Camp Gilead Victory Circle!  It's been QUITE some time since we've met here ... and brrr... it IS a little cold right now.  We're going to attempt to get THIS going (blog) again this year ... because I do realize that there are some that like to come to the fire every now and then! 

Currently here at Gilead we just finished up our 2nd annual 5K benefitting camper scholarships!  It was a great success and we are excited to see who the Lord brings to camp this summer as a result of so many participating in this exciting event.  Maybe some of THOSE campers will stand around a campfire someday and give thanks to the Creator of the Universe for saving them from eternal separation from Him.  All because someone ran a 5K ... you just never know how the little things in life matter! 

What little things are you doing for Him today?  They might go unnoticed by the masses, but in eternity - it matters!  Holding your tongue when your child asks you that same question ... again.   Diligently doing what your parents told you to ... even when it's not really what YOU want to be doing.  Obeying, listening, trusting, seeking, praying, giving, reading, loving, caring ... all of these things DO matter.  Even if no one notices.  God does! 

It amazes me how many people over the years have given to the ministry of Camp Gilead ... and may not have even had the privilege of knowing how God used THEIR gifts, THEIR money, THEIR time to bring so many to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  It is my prayer that through this blog and other means ... that a window into the ministry of Camp Gilead will be opened.  For some of you ... this is a beloved place of your past.  You made a decision here, you had the privilege of witnessing others make those decisions, you invested your summer here.  For others ... you might just be wondering, "What exactly happens at Camp Gilead?" 

Join us here at the Victory Circle this summer ... you'll see.  It's God's work.  It's incredible. 

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director